Childcare during coronavirus

How to form a Childcare Bubble and what other forms of childcare are allowed during coronavirus.
Image of a child with paint covered hands

What childcare is allowed during Coronavirus?

There are several options which allow people to provide childcare support in your home (or outside it):

  • forming a childcare bubble (see below)
  • registered childcare providers (e.g. childminders, Nannies)
  • paid in-home childcare providers
  • people in your support bubble

Guidance is available for working safely in other people’s homes.

Early years settings and childminders remain open, and you can continue to use these settings as normal. As a parent, you are allowed to access childcare activities (including wraparound care) where it is reasonably necessary to enable you to:

  • work
  • seek work
  • attend education or training
  • provide respite care for carers

Childcare Bubbles

If you have a child or children aged 13 or under, you can form a ‘childcare bubble’ which allows friends or family from outside your household to provide informal childcare.

What a childcare bubble is

A childcare bubble is where two households join to provide informal childcare to a child or children aged 13 or under. ‘Informal’ childcare is unpaid and unregistered and can be provided in either of the households homes or in any location – public or private, indoors or outdoors.

You can only use a childcare bubble for childcare i.e. where the child’s parent or regular carer is not present. You cannot use a childcare bubble to mix socially with another household.

All adults in both households must agree to this arrangement.

You can start a childcare bubble with another household whenever you want but, from Thursday 5 November, you cannot change you bubble.

The childcare bubble only continues while there are children aged 13 or under within that bubble. Once all children in a household are 14 or above, the childcare bubble arrangement must stop.

If possible, try to form a childcare bubble with a household that lives locally. This will help to prevent the virus spreading from an area where a higher number of people are infected with COVID-19. People who are clinically extremely vulnerable are also advised not to form childcare bubbles during the period of national restrictions.

If someone in your childcare bubble develops coronavirus symptoms or tests positive

If anyone in your childcare bubble develops symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus, then the whole bubble mut follow the stay at home guidance.

If you share custody of your child, and you and your child’s other parent are in separate childcare bubbles, members of both bubbles should stay at home if someone develops symptoms.

This is critical to controlling the virus, as it will help to stop it spreading across multiple households.

If NHS Test and Trace contacts you or someone in your childcare bubble, you must follow their guidance.

New Changes from 8th March 

From 8th March all students in schools and higher education will return to face-to-face learning. 

Students on practical Higher Education courses at English universities who have not already returned and would be unable to complete their courses if they did not return to take part in practical teaching, access specialist facilities or complete assessments will be able to return.

Wraparound childcare can reopen and other children’s activities can restart for all children where it is needed to enable parents to work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group. Vulnerable children can attend childcare and other children’s activities in all circumstances

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